Heating up for Spring race season: RunTheATL, Hot Chocolate, & More…Oh my!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate Atlanta and I’m promoting the Palm Desert Half Marathon & 5k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”


My goal/strategy for this spring training and racing season is to focus more on my base fitness and less on hitting specific training marks. In short, I plan to have more fun and improve my overall fitness, rather than be hyper focused on specific training plans and goals. Some of this is by design; when I train simply based on how I feel, I have always performed better without meaning to. Every time I train my damn little heart out and try to hit a specific PR goal, even when I go into the race well-prepared, it never really works out. So…have more fun, eat well, train when I feel like it, and then do stupid shit and see what happens. Check! Inspired by the words of a good friend, I’m gonna train and race like I want to see a fucking reindeer! I guess you needed to be there…

This past weekend I had a long training run (supposedly 18 miles on the schedule) built around a 5k race, the Atlanta Track Club Hearts and Soles 5k. This is always a fun, fast course, and we always have training around the race, i.e. we have 18 + miles to run before/after a 5k. Not well timed but it’s a great way to push a hard tempo effort into the middle of a long run, so it actually works well. Every freaking year I tell myself I’m just going to go easy and NOT RACE. Every year I run 5ish miles before the race and then remind myself, again, DO NOT run the 5k as a RACE. And every freaking year I hit the first mile of the 5k like I’m running away from some nightmare, i.e. Donald Trump in diapers, and I have the painful realization that even though my brain told me NOT to race, my heart had different plans and, dammit, we’re racing. Remember how I said above that I always seem to perform better when I don’t mean to? Yeah, well 10lbs overweight from Christmas and shitty training got me another 30 second 5k PR last weekend. WEEEEEE! It’s always exciting but equally frustrating to think what I could do if my training and nutrition locked into place in perfect harmony and I actually raced well in the races I trained for…or something like that. As frustrating as that all is, it also gives me energy to think of myself as a better athlete than I often give myself credit for, and I keep thinking there’s definitely more I can do. #NeverSatisfied #CantStopWontStop

Woops?

The idea of having more fun with my fitness has really invigorated my excitement for some upcoming events and races further afield this spring. This Sunday is RunTheATL #WinterEdition, an annual adventure run of sorts and decidedly unofficial race. It may or may not be legal; just don’t ask too many questions and definitely don’t tell anyone in uniform that it’s a Matt B. Davis race. 😉 Each year I get a few more roadies to join the insanity so I’m looking forward to sharing the experience with some more “virgins” this year.

If you’re already out west and/or willing and able to travel to warmer weather, the Palm Desert Half Marathon, 5k, & kids race is this Sunday, February 10 in the Coachella Valley, CA. I’ve loved checking out the race photos on social media leading up to this race and I’ve definitely had race envy. Just having another reason to visit Coachella rather than a music festival I’m pretty sure I’ve aged out of already is enough to get this beautiful race on my feature, post-PhD/more $ in the bank race-cation list. There’s still time to register if you’re up for a last-minute jaunt through the desert. Use code BRPD19 for 10% off.

In less than 2 weeks is the sweetest race, of course, Hot Chocolate 15k Atlanta! I first did Hot Chocolate in 2016 and it’s one of those races I ended up enjoying much more than I expected. I luckily didn’t race last year when Atlanta experienced the freezing rain monsoon on race day, so I’m hopeful this year we’ll have great weather and an awesome post-race party with the start/finish area moved back to Centennial Park. I’m most excited this time around since I can actually run or ride my bike to the start since I now live so close to downtown. City dweller for life! I did set my goal time on Athlinks to a PR of 1:35. After the last couple weeks of “training” for fun, I’m feeling positive about that goal but plan to keep my heart in the “have fun” game more than my brain, since that seems to be the most effective strategy for me. It’s a race with hot chocolate after all; there may not be reindeer (who knows??) but I definitely won’t miss opportunities to stop and enjoy extra treats along the course. I think there’s no better race to further test the run for fun race strategy. You can still join the fun too! Registration is still open. Use code BRHCAtlanta for some extra free swag! Let me know if you’ll be there and maybe we can utilize the “reindeer” race strategy together!

I’m so ready for my new Hot Chocolate swag!

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Heading upwards in Spring: Blue Ridge Marathon added to my spring race calendar!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Blue Ridge Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

Since I’ll be training for and pacing 5:30 at the Publix Atlanta Marathon in March, I was looking for another spring marathon to run for myself (not as a pacer). Thankfully, another great BibRave Pro opportunity opened and I’ll be running the Blue Ridge Marathon on April 13, 2019! This will be the 10th anniversary of what is billed as “America’s toughest road marathon.” I’ll be making use of the abundance of hill repeats available in Atlanta to train for the 7,430 ft of elevation gain in the marathon. Whew! I’m certainly not expecting a PR but I do expect to enjoy some really beautiful scenery. I’ll be pushing forward with some strength and nutrition goals this winter/spring season to prepare for this race as well as set me up to be in top shape for a sub-24 hour goal time at Yeti 100 in September (if I get in the race lottery of course – stay tuned!).

If you want to enjoy some awesome scenery, and epic hills, use code BLUERIDGEBIBRAVE for 20% off registration at https://www.blueridgemarathon.com/

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(Really) last minute gift ideas for your favorite runner: Part 2!

Disclaimer: I traveled to The Running Event and received products products from AddadayAltraArcanumBrooksCEPHandfulIncrediwearNuunVoorayVuori and Zwift as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! I have reviewed Aftershokz, Buff Multifunctional Headwear,  and Orange Mud in the past but the products featured in this post are my own.

Still have Christmas dinner 2.0 with the “other” side of the family? What about that Saturday morning run buddy who surprised you with a gift and the gift that you, of course, already bought them is conveniently delayed in USPS due to government shutdown? Maybe you just think anytime between December 20th and 31st is an acceptable range for gift-giving? In any case, here’s the second part of my 2019 runners gift list!

If you haven’t already realized. from several blog posts (merino wool, UV full, UV half, UV reflective half, UV arm sleeves, ThermoNet)and many pics on social media, Buff(R) multifunctional headwear makes up an entire drawer of my wardrobe both for daily wear and fitness must-haves. I use Buff headwear for casual outfits, bad hair days, travel, camping, running, biking, etc. I really love by BibRave branded BUFF original as well as the knit winter hat. Buff products are lightweight, easy to clean, versatile, and look great!

My husband and I have been using Nuun Hydration for years, with tubes of it stashed all over the house, both cars, and numerous gym bags. Nuun contains the optimal blend of electrolytes in a fizzy table that transports easily, comes in many flavors, most of which are super tasty and not too overpowering, and some of which contain caffeine (pro tip: Nuun canisters with a colored cap have caffeine). In Atlanta in the summer it’s especially important to keep well hydrated and a good electrolyte balance since the heat and humidity catches up with you fast, even on recovery days. I find that keeping Nuun with me everyday encourages me to drink more water since it’s much more tasty.

I’m really loving 2 newer Nuun products: Nuun Vitamins and Nuun Immunity. Nuun Vitamins contain 11 vitamins and minerals and less electrolytes than their standard hydration product so it’s a great way to drink Nuun every day. From the website, “each hydration vitamin supplement has only 10 calories and delivers vitamin a, folic acid and b6, c, e, and d for health and wellness, and sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and chloride for optimal hydration.” The Blueberry Pomegranate is amazing and the Blackberry Citrus with caffeine is a great way to start the day with hydration rather than drinking only coffee, a diuretic. I’m starting each day with Nuun Vitamins before I drink coffee and it’s been a great way to rehydrate after sleep and I have more energy throughout the morning.

Nuun Immunity uses “a balance of anti-inflammatories (including turmeric & ginger), free-radical fighting antioxidants (such as elderberry & echinacea), and the hydration-optimized blend of electrolytes” to help support immune health. I’ve been using Nuun Immunity for my afternoon Nuun fix. Even better, we found out at The Running Even that Nuun can be served hot as a tea! I’ve been using the Citrus Orange Immunity or the Ginger Lemonade Nuun Vitamins for an afternoon/evening hot tea! Mmmm.

I discovered Orange Mud years ago when I started using their transition towel (I now own more than 4 with at least one in each car at any time). A year or so later I had the opportunity to test the Hydraquiver Single Barrel as a BibRave Pro, followed by the Endurance Pack, and Gear Vest. A section of my closet is full of additional Orange Mud purchases and I’ve spread the love to friends and family as well. The VP1 is my go-to pack for the majority of runs up to half marathon or a well-supported road marathon. The VP2 or endurance pack are great for longer runs (with the endurance pack great for off-road cycling as well), especially longer trail races where aid stations are farther apart.

Founder/Owner Josh Sprague is passionate about his products as well as the growing community of Orange Mud users worldwide. He constantly asks for user input, puts a lot of thought into the quality of materials and manufacturing, and the company as a whole has amazing customer service.

Rocking the Hydraquiver single barrel at Ironman Chattanooga 2016!

Turn those indoor “dreadmill” runs into video game-like social events! Use the shoe pod on any treadmill with the zwift app on your phone, tablet, of laptop to join virtual group runs or solo runs along thousands of kilometers of generated routes. It’s really cool to be able to run “with” people from all over the world in the fictional Zwift world of Watopia. The best part? Zwift Run subscription is currently free and the shoe pod is only $29.99. Check out my full review here:

I’ve always seen the colorful blue Addaday products at race expos and local running stores but hadn’t yet pulled the trigger on purchasing yet another torture device since I still wasn’t happy with the products I already owned. We received the Addaday Pro Type C roller in our swag bag at The Running Event.

The Type C is a great recovery tool that includes blue and grey rollers for helping to flush out lactic acid and muscle fatigue. A smaller red pin point muscle roller is great for those hard to reach spots, such as Achilles and shin splints. I found this recovery stick great for after hard workouts as well as during our long road trip from Atlanta to NH for the holidays; I used it in the back seat so I didn’t get as stiff from sitting in the car all day. It worked wonders and I arrived in NH ready for many adventures! The stick itself is made from high quality material that doesn’t wear down. It’s also meant to make self-massage easy so you can use it standing up, sitting at a desk, wherever without having to get on the ground and fiddle around like with a foam roller. The Addaday Pro Type C roller retails for $42.

We also learned at the Running Event expo that Addaday is moving into a more whole wellness space so they’re beginning to offer a more diverse array of products geared toward general wellness. In fact, at the expo they debuted their latest product – Runners Tea! The tea is made from whole tea leaves and can be steeped up to 5-6 times, hot or cold. It had a really nice light taste, like a light green tea, so it gives you the caffeine without the acidity of coffee. A tin with 10 5oz packets retails for $25. If you have an awesome spouse like me you can sip your tea while they use the Type C roller on your calves. Hurts so good!

This compact backpack came chock full of all the other awesome goodies we received at The Running Event Influencer Day. I especially loved the bag for traveling home since I was still able to carry everything on the plane even though I was returning with twice the amount of gear I arrived with. The bag has 2 exterior water bottle pockets, a padded 15″ laptop compartment, an interior meshed zipped pocket that’s great for smaller electronics and cords, and an exterior pocket that I used for any quick-grab items, such as phone, wallet, and lip balm. I used the ACE backpack more recently for a ski trip where it easily carried all my gear including: helmet, goggles, gloves, pants, jacket, change of clothes, socks, etc. I also used it for bike commuting and added some spare strips of Brilliant Reflective stick-ons for added safety!

When we visited the Vooray booth at The Running Event expo I was so impressed with the quality of all their products and the amazing price points. Looking at and handling all their gorgeous bags, it would have been easy to think they were worth 2-3 times as much, but the ACE backpack retails for only $39.99! The kind Vooray folks also let us grab some free active fanny packs. The fanny packs also come in fun prints, have welded waterproof zippers, water resistant nylon body, and a headphone port (for those of you still tied to cords). I have always hated wearing waist packs because they bounce around and shift; not so with the Vooray fanny pack! I used this in a very very wet 10 mile race in Atlanta for stashing my phone, some cash, and some nutrition. Everything stayed bone dry and the bag didn’t bounce or shift. All for $19.99. Amazing! If you check out their website now, there are items on clearance for up to 50% off so you can really grab some amazing deals.

Rounding out the Vooray awesomeness, I arrived home from holiday travels to an awesome gift from my BibRave secret santa: the Vooray cinch backpack and coach cap, perfect for future travels!

Time to get shopping folks! End of the year shopping and sales still abound, so get on it! Check out what other BibRave Pros are saying about The Running Event and the awesome swag from our product partners:

Meridith | Jen Z | Casey | Tedrick |Mai | Vanessa |

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Warm weather race envy: Palm Desert Half & 5k

Disclaimer:
I’m promoting the Palm Desert Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!”

Having just returned from a winter wonderland in NH to what seems to be never-ending rain in Atlanta, I’m definitely wishing I had the time and resources to get to warm weather event asap. BibRave is partnering with the Palm Desert Half this year and there’s some awesome reasons why I’m adding this race to my must-do race for post-PhD:

  • Beautiful scenery

Palm Desert, CA is in the beautiful Coachella Valley on February 10. Every race image gives me major race envy, and I wish I could make this a birthday trip in 2019. Alas, adulting requires patience.

  • Something for the whole family

There’s a half marathon (which can also be run as a 2 or 3 person relay, 5k, and 1k kids run! The kids race is sponsored by the Old Spaghetti Factory and all the kids get a t-shirt, medal, post-race food, and free meal at the Spaghetti Factory. Every distance for every family member.

Turn your weekend into a triathlon brick workout! Participate in any distance of the Tour de Palm Springs on Saturday, Feb 9 and the Palm Desert 5k or Half Marathon on Sunday, Feb 10 to earn an awesome Brick Award (it’s an actual engraved brick!).

Use code BRPD19 thru Dec 31st to get 20% off registration! After that the code will still be good for 10% off registration. Then, use your savings to bring me along! 😉

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Keeping it sweet in 2019: Hot Chocolate Atlanta officially on my calendar!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate Atlanta part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

After taking 2018 off at the Atlanta Hot Chocolate 15k, I’m excited to be back for some sweetness in 2019 representing BibRave on 2/17! I really enjoyed the race in 2016 and 2017, and I often know a lot of people who run it. The course is challenging but fun, the swag gets even better each year (I’m looking forward to an updated version of my old Hot Chocolate hoodie), and the water stops are stocked with Nuun (always a pleasant alternative to the typically over-sweet sports drinks you see at races). Check out my previous Hot Chocolate blog posts and BibRave Reviews:

I actually have 16 miles on my marathon training schedule that weekend but since I live so close to downtown I can run to the start for a warmup and get all my miles in a much sweeter way! Then I can take MARTA home while enjoying dark hot chocolate and extra goodies. Win win!

Want to join me for the sweetest race in town?! Use code BRHCAtlanta to get a free phone armband for all your training!

In getting prepped for the race, I jumped onto Athlinks and saw that my previous course PR was 1:39:04. I added my name to the start list for 2019 with a new goal of 1:35:00. It’s a really cool feature that allows you to check out other runners who will be running the same race, scout out your competition, and set goals for yourself! Head to Athlinks and add yourself to your next start list.

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Last Minute Gift Ideas for your Favorite Runners: Part 1

Disclaimer: I traveled to The Running Event and received products products from Addaday, Altra, Arcanum, Brooks, CEP, Handful, Incrediwear, Nuun, Vooray, Vuori and Zwift as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! I have reviewed Aftershokz and Orange Mud in the past but the products featured in this post are my own.

Inspired by my recent trip to The Running Event Influencer Day as BibRave Pro (which I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing about) and the 12 Days of Christmas, here’s part 1 of a list of 12 awesome last-minute gifts for the favorite runners in your life:

Handful founder, Jennifer, and her partners wanted to design products that support active lifestyles and make women feel great. No more sports bra uni-boobs! I received the Y-back bra and capris at The Running Event and LOVED them so much that I immediately ordered the full leggings as well. When my wallet is looking a little healthier after the holidays I plan to purchase more Y-back bras and the Flippin’ awesome tank.

The product materials are so soft, I’ve had no quality issues with multiple washes, and the sports bra DOES NOT CHAFE! Halle-freakin-lujah! The leggings and capris are mid-to-high waisted so they create an awesome silhouette, and the sports bra is super cute for fitness or just a daily wear bra (I use it for both) since it makes the sisters look so great (no smashed tatas). If you have an important women in your life, pay attention, because a gift from Handful is guaranteed to please.

The best part is that Handful supports some amazing breast cancer programs. Breast cancer survivors are eligible for a 30% lifetime discount through the Breast Friends Forever program, and they provide free additional pad sets that can be stacked as lightweight prosthetic for anyone who has lost all or part of their breast to cancer. In addition, 12.5% of all revenue from sales of the Battle Cry Pink bras are donated to the Young Survival Coalition. Even men appreciate Handful! Check out BibRave Pro Corey’s “review“.

Built by yoga/surf aficionados from the west coast town of Encinitas, CA, the brand was initially men’s active and leisurewear with a west coast style. When women friends of the brand started wearing the smaller size men’s pieces, they eventually expanded to include women’s specific product as well.

I received the Omni Performance shorts at The Running Event. The material feels great and the moss color is a nice change from the typical black running shorts. These are definitely a short running short, so I recommend sizing up if you like things a little more flowy. I can’t run in running shorts (I typically need tights to cover these thunderthighs) but I like the shorts for gym workouts and changing out of wet clothes after a run. Other BibRave Pros, including Vanessa, run in the shorts and have liked them. The guys have had great things to say about the men’s shorts as well, and I noticed at The Running Event expo that they were made from the same amazing, high quality materials. One Vuori product that’s definitely on my shopping list is the Performance Joggers; they look amazing and are so so soft and cozy. Santa, please!

Cute and cozy!

From the Incrediwear website: “The Incrediwear Sports Socks relieve aches and fatigue when spending long hours on your feet or participating in multipurpose activities such as tennis, hiking, training, etc. The Sports Socks are anatomically designed for left and right footing with cooling toe box and heel cups to provide maximum comfort throughout the day.”

One of the common themes I’m noticing with products lately is the improvement in quality of materials used, particularly in sportswear. Incrediwear definitely fits this new trend with incredibly soft, comfortable materials that are still built to withstand repeated use over long miles of endurance activities. I’ve been wearing these socks multiple times a week with many washes and there’s no sign of wear or stretching. Incrediwear products fabric blend is embedded with semiconductor elements for improved comfort and durability.

We received the thin active socks in no show, the regular active socks, and the thin active socks in a knee high cut. The tall socks are too tall for me since I’m only 4’11” but they’ve made great recovery socks and I wore them during our road trip from Atlanta to NH for improved circulation sitting in the car for long stretches. My shoe size falls in the middle of recommended sizes. I ended up with a size small and I still wish they were a bit smaller, so if you’re not sure about size then you might want to go to the smaller size. Just FYI.

Do you want to run in shoes built by passionate people? Do you want to possibly improve your run form? Do you want to feel like you’re running in slippers? Do you want to run in shoes like Kara Goucher? Then Altra’s are for you! I received the Altra Escalante 1.5, Altra’s best-selling shoe of all time.

Altra focuses on “the difference of three”: footshape, fit4her, and zero drop technology. The Footshape (TM) Toe Box allows the toes to spread out in the normal shape of a foot and gives more space for powerful toe off. This also reduces overpronation and enhances stability. The toe box plus the zero drop platform put the heel and toe equal distance from the ground and allow for natural alignment, better form, and low-impact landing. I find that the ultra soft upper plus the amazing cushioning of the sole makes the ride feel like running in slippers or even barefoot with just enough protection. You’ll definitely have to break in the zero drop running with shorter miles at first if you’ve never used it before (your calves and quads will thank you) but the transition is completely worth it! Bonus: the women’s models are actually designed for the unique biomechanics of our feet rather than just making a smaller product: narrower heel and midfoot, a higher instep, a longer arch and unique metatarsal spacing.

BibRave Pros Corey and Nicole really love their Altra’s too!

I didn’t receive Aftershokz as part of The Running Event Influencer Day but BibRave and Aftershokz has a longstanding partnership. I’ve been lucky enough to try several pairs as part of being a BibRave Pro but have become a lifelong customer as part of the process because of how much I love the products. I have gifted many pairs (including several this holiday season) and have spread the word to many more friends who have purchased for themselves and the Aftershokz word has continued to spread from there…

Situational awareness looks great…man-bun not included.

The Trekz Air uses the same awesome bone-conduction technology of other Aftershokz products in a 20% lighter design. The technology and open fit design allow for maximum situation awareness. I use mine for solo runs, listening to music and podcasts at work, and making hands-free phone calls while driving. They literally travel everywhere with me! For more, check out my previous review of the Aftershokz Trekz Air. I’m not officially a member of the #ShokzSquad but I consider myself a valued lurker lol.

I received the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19 (some BRPs received the Ghost 11s) and the LSD jacket at The Running Event Influencer Day. Side note: Brooks also throws an awesome dance party. I’ve never run in Brooks but always heard great things from my many running friends who swear by their products.

I was really happy to receive the Adrenalines to round out the two pairs of running shoes (along with the Altras) every runner should have in their rotation. The Adrenaline GTS 19s are Brooks most popular road stability shoe (as opposed to the Ghosts which are a neutral shoe). I don’t usually run in stability shoes but I was pleased to feel that the Adrenalines are surprisingly lightweight and responsive, not something I expected from a cushioned stability shoe. I first wore them at the BibRave run around Austin and it seemed they quickly adapted to my feet with an extremely comfortable footbed, and allowed for responsive, punchy stride. I always assumed that cushioned, stability shoes would absorb too much of the stride and feel “clunky” but these were quite the opposite. Within a week of receiving them I ran in a wet 10 miler with no further break-in period and they still felt awesome, stayed dry for most of the run, and didn’t turn to bricks when I ended up sloshing through several bad puddles.

Dry feet and warm body with the Adrenaline GTS 19s and the LSD jacket (assist by the Subaru poncho)

Next up is the absolutely awesome-sauce LSD Jacket! Good things really do come in small packages and this jacket is no joke indeed. The ultralightweight LSD jacket is windproof and (I found) somewhat water resistant against misty or light drizzle winter runs. Have you ever had trouble planning what to wear for a long morning run when the temperature difference between the beginning and end of your run is more than 10 degrees?? The LSD is the perfect jacket to grab for those cold morning runs and then it packs up really small once the temps warm up. It also includes a nifty armband so you don’t have to worry about where to stash it for the rest of your run!

Meridith also loves her Brooks gear!

Check out more reviews from more great gear from The Running Event Influencer Day:

Casey |

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BibRave The Running Event Product Review: Let’s get Schwifty with Zwift!

Disclaimer: I received admission to The Running Event and products from a Zwift run pod as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Thanks so much to Zwift for sponsoring the BibRave Pro welcome reception at The Running Event Influencer Day! I’ve had the chance to try out Zwift Run and their run shoe pod. It’s definitely a great addition to some winter run workouts on the infamous “dreadmill”. Watch for more:

And now just because…

Check out what other BibRave Pros have to say about Zwift:

Corey Meridith | Matt | Jenn | Steph | Mai | Lissa | Lisa | Andrea | Tedrick | Jen |

Don’t forget to follow Zwift on social:

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BibRave The Running Event Product Review: Recover in comfort with CEP Compression

Disclaimer: I received admission to The Running Event and products from CEP Compression as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Up next for The Running Event Influencer Day product reviews is CEP Compression. I’ve been using CEP for several years and love the quality and comfort of their products. Compression shouldn’t be a struggle and CEP really stands out as a high quality, comfortable, and easy to use brand. Watch below for more!



Don’t forget to follow BibRave and CEP Compression on social!

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BibRave The Running Event Product Review: Find your edge with the Arcanum Edge


Disclaimer: I received admission to The Running Event and products from Arcanum as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews! 

I’m going to be mixing in a few video blog reviews, so here’s one of my first with the awesome activated hemp products from Arcanum Edge! I loved chatting with these guys at The Running Event in Austin and it’s been great testing the Sarco Breeze, Sarco Freeze, and The Quill Products. Arcanum products are made in the USA and a portion of every Arcanum Sports Performance purchase is dedicated to providing and funding alternative health options for United States Veterans. And now, onward to the review!

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All the orange and so much more at The Running Event Influencer Day!

Disclaimer: I traveled to The Running Event and received products products from Addaday, Altra, Arcanum, Brooks, CEP, Handful, Incrediwear, Nuun, Vooray, Vuori and Zwift as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

There really are no words to describe my experience last week at The Running Event Influencer Day with BibRave but I’m going to try my best. To be honest, I was absolutely stunned when BibRave chose me among the 20 BibRave Pros to attend the event. Maybe my lack of confidence as an athlete got tied to my general feeling that I suck at this blogging/social media thing, but something worked in the end and I got to roll with some pretty awesome peeps in Austin. Even before heading to Austin, just being picked gave me a major boost in confidence, something I apparently needed as I struggle to improve my health and fitness while also complete a PhD. Thanks BibRave just for that alone.

Image from iOS (1)
I may have sang Journey karaoke style shortly after this pic, even though there was no karaoke…

The Running Event is the premier conference and trade show for running specialty retailers. This year, BibRave had the opportunity to bring 20 BibRave Pros to the tradeshow for an Influencer Day jam packed with awesome activities, seeded product from retailers, and just lots of love for orange. In 24 hours I connected with a ton of awesome brands, some new and old to me, visited a new city, sang karaoke when there was no karaoke, and met an amazing group of runners from all over the country. My swag bag was certainly full but my heart was overflowing. Here’s the breakdown:

Day 1: I flew to Austin mid-morning for a lunchtime arrival. I actually crossed paths with my first “orange” friend, Lindsey, in the ATL airport before we separated for a few hours on different flights to meet again in Austin. Most people arrived around lunch and I ended up in the second group of 7 people who met at Austin airport and took Uber to meet up with the rest of the BibRave Pros at a restaurant, our first taste of awesome Austin food. It was really awesome meeting 19 people like we were all old friends even though I had only met 2 previously. Some people like to knock on social media but I think it’s pretty amazing when you have experiences like this.

After lunch we checked into our hotel (I stayed with 3 other awesome ladies) and then we started a scooter gang…I mean, we took Uber scooters across the river to quickly take some touristy pics with one of the Austin murals before heading to the first official TRE event, The Influencer Reception sponsored by Zwift. At the reception we noshed on food and drink while digging into our awesome swag bags including: a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTSn 19, a pair of Altra Escalante 1.5, and a Vooray backpack full of gear from Arcanum, CEP, Nuun, Addaday, more Brooks stuff (a sweet reflective jacket), Handful, Incrediwear, Vuori, and Zwift of course! Hanukkah definitely came early for me this year. While we were digging into our goodies like little kids, there were 4 “chosen ones” pros who ran the BibRave 5k on Woodway treadmills using Zwift. For my cycling friends, you’ll recognize Zwift for it’s cycling in-home training workouts. Zwift launched a run capability back in February and we received the Zwift run shoe pod in our gift bags. I’ve done one of their virtual runs already and it definitely makes treadmill runs more bearable, like playing a video game. It was really fun to cheer on the 4 “chosen ones” while also seeing the hundred other people, including many other BibRave Pros, running the 5k virtually from all around the world.

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So much awesomeness!

After the reception we had a little time to drop our new gear off at the hotel and then head back out to meet the group at Iron Works BBQ for dinner (gotta have BBQ in Texas!). You could tell at this point that everyone was tired from early travels (I had to walk around the restaurant a bit to wake myself back up) but we were ready for a bit of a second wind at the Brooks after-party at Cedar Street Courtyard. This party has a reputation for being a bit crazy each year. We had free beer and wine, and there was an awesome live band that went through a ton of awesome dance/karaoke songs. Des Linden was also there and a bunch of the Pros got selfies. I was lame though and tried to be a little too polite so I missed my chance. I was exhausted and we had originally planned to leave by 10 but the music and dancing was too enticing! We lasted an extra hour and headed back to the hotel around 11, although some of the group definitely lasted until last call I heard lol. I was pretty exhausted and we had to meet again the next morning by 6:30 for our BibRave run around Austin! Best behavior I guess this time around lol.

Day 2: Up at 5:45 to then take scooters back across the river for our 6:30 meetup time for the BibRave run! Professional photographer Larry Castillo followed us around on a scooter and took some awesome shots too! Austin is a really cool city and they had a great path along the river; I wish I had more time to explore and do some longer runs around town. Hopefully I’ll get invited back to TRE next year and I’ll make it a longer trip. After about 3 miles around town, including a stop at the Texas State Capitol, we made it back to the Hilton. We had just enough time to make it back to our hotel for speed showers and then right back to the convention center for our 8:30 am meetup for the tour of the expo trade show floor.

Tour of the expo: basically I kept calling this a race expo on crack. Take hundreds of vendors (it probably takes more than one day to properly visit everyone) and none of the crowds normally found at a large race expo and that’s The Running Event expo. We broke into two groups and had a scheduled tour of 10 vendors with product found in our swag bags. At each stop we learned more about the companies and the products, and had the opportunity to ask questions. It was particularly helpful for products new to me, such as Arcanum, where we got a better picture of their story and vision as well as the best way to use the products. I especially loved hearing from the ladies at Handful who developed sports bras that look great (no uni-boob) and also do a lot of great work with women with breast cancer/reconstruction/etc. They also showcased an amazing tank, the flippin awesome tank, which I desperately want when I get rid of some of this holiday debt lol. I’ll have reviews of all the products in follow-up posts over the next few weeks.

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Image from iOS
Andy’s Group A: Clearly the best group

After the tour we had several hours until the expo closed to walk around on our own and talk to more awesome brands. I finally got to meet Josh Sprague, founder/owner of Orange Mud. I’m part of their dirt unit/ambassador program and I really LOVE their products. Josh is an awesome guy who’s genuinely excited about his products and the people who use them. I really wish we had more time in the expo because we barely made it through half of the room, and even that was rushed. I chatted with several other brands, many of them new to me, and we scored essentially another bagful of awesome products. It was like race expo shopping without all the monetary guilt.

After the expo several of us walked to a burger joint for lunch and then it was back to the airport and home for me that night. Honestly, I’m still kinda decompressing and unpacking the whole thing even though it was all over within 24 hours. Attending TRE with BibRave was an amazing honor and one I hope to earn again in the future. More than all the awesome swag, it was really the amazing journey with incredible people that has made it one of the best experiences. If you notice me rocking orange more often, it’s  because the color gives me such joy. More to come…

Hear more from other BibRave Pros who attended TRE:

Vanessa | Kim | Tedric |Mai | Meridith | Nicole | Corey | Amy | Ryan | Gina

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